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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 22 June, 2018

Fianna Fáil: Our 'Garth Brooks Bill' could be passed by tomorrow

The party’s mooted legislation change would essentially create an appeals process whereby the Council’s decision could be appealed on economic and tourism grounds.

Image: Curtis Hilbun/PA

FIANNA FÁIL IS calling on the Government to adopt its ‘Garth Brooks Bill’, which the party says could end the fiasco over the Croke Park concerts within days.

Timmy Dooley, the opposition party’s transport and tourism spokesman, unveiled the legislation on Friday, a day after Dublin City Council refused permission for two of the five concerts to go ahead.

It would essentially create an appeals process whereby the local authority’s decision could be appealed on economic or tourism grounds.

“This legislation could be passed by tomorrow evening if the Government so chose,” Dooley said at Leinster House today.

“It allows the Minister a number of days to review all the documentation and take a decision then based on all the facts.

If the legislation was accepted by the Government it could be in place by tomorrow evening or Thursday at the latest — and the Minister would be in a position to overturn the decision of Dublin City Council if that’s what was decided.

He said the ball was in the coalition’s court in terms of how to proceed.

“I don’t have a problem if they want to make some changes to it or if they want to introduce a sunset clause.

“My understanding is that people close to negotiations would find this very helpful.”

Averil Power and Timmy Dooley at Leinster House today []

Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power, who yesterday hosted a press conference on the issue attended by tourism and hospitality groups, said the city stood to lose €50 million if (as threatened by Brooks) all five gigs are called off.

“I don’t think it’s good enough that the Government has washed its hands of it.”

Power said the mooted change to the planning laws appeared to be the only way the situation could be resolved, given the City Manager’s stance at last night’s Council meeting.

Owen Keegan reiterated last evening that “an event licence decision made under the Planning & Development Act cannot be amended or appealed” in spite of councillors voting in favour of all five gigs going ahead.

Meanwhile, Promoter Peter Aiken is travelling to meet Brooks and his representatives in the US today after phone calls and emails between the two parties failed to reach a resolution.

Aiken had said at the weekend that he expected to have a final decision one way or another by today.


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